Bathrooms can be a scary place for the elderly, especially those at risk for falls. Getting in and out of a slippery tub can be physically challenging and pose a high risk of injury. Additionally, your loved one may struggle to safely get on and off of the toilet. Navigating a small space that is often wet or cluttered can put your loved one at further risk. Arthritis, old fractures or other issues with joints and the back can complicate these simple tasks even more.
However, all it takes is just a few preventative measures to turn your loved one’s bathroom into a safe place while reducing the risk of falls and injury. The Surprise home health care team at Nightingale Homecare outlines the following steps to improved safety:
- Non-slip suction mats or rubber silicone appliqués in and around the tub are an excellent way to reduce the risk of injuries. To ensure a safe transfer, place one mat on the tub’s bottom prior to the bath, and one outside the tub for stepping out onto.
- Shower chairs, placed inside the tub or shower, can also ensure more secure bath mobility. Make sure the shower chair has non-slip rubber tips for maximum safety.
- Grab bars provide additional support for getting in and out of bathtubs, or for raising and lowering the body once in the water. Place institutional-grade stainless steel bars all around the tub: a vertical U-shaped bar above the faucet assists in entering and exiting the tub, while a horizontal bar at the foot end and on the back wall allow the bather to safely get in and out of a seated position. Installation of a steel bar by the toilet can also provide stability and leverage. Towel bars should never be used as support bars as they are not sturdy enough to hold the pressure and weight needed to adequately support your loved one, and may cause further injury.
- Providing your loved one with a raised toilet seat that elevates the toiled 5 – 7 inches can make all the difference. Some options are available with handlebars that improve the ease of getting on and off the toilet even more.
- Avoid using a mat in the bathroom outside of getting in and out of the tub or shower. When used, look for mats with suction tips and remove them after use. Mats and rugs can be a tripping hazard and lead to falls and injury.
- Ensure floors are clean and dry and free from clutter. This can go a long way in improving safety in the bathroom.
To ensure all possible safety measures are in place, look to Nightingale Homecare to provide a professional occupational therapy evaluation and fall risk assessment. We’re also on hand to provide a helping hand in the bathroom, always with the utmost respect and dignity, to improve safety even further, as well as a wide range of customized Surprise home health care services.
Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 for additional resources or to schedule a free in-home assessment and help keep your senior loved ones safe and secure!